Welcome to Project CRYSTAL

About

Project CRYSTAL (Colleagues Researching with Young Scientists, Teaching and Learning) started in Professor Hazel Holden's lab (UW-Madison) in 2009.

Project CRYSTAL provides an opportunity for motivated middle school students to explore research science through real graduate-level research projects. The teaching team of Professor Holden and graduate students Ari Salinger, Haley Brown, and Karl Wetterhorn present a topic each week in lecture format, and then the group heads to the lab to experiment. See the Learn Along with Young Scientists page to see what the group is up to!

Mission

Project CRYSTAL's mission is to provide a hands-on laboratory experience for middle school students in an active, state of the art research laboratory. Through teaching and research, Project CRYSTAL aims to instill a love for chemistry and foster interest in a future career in science in middle school students.

Photo of Fall 2014 Project Crystal group

History

Project CRYSTAL (Colleagues Researching with Young Scientists: Teaching And Learning) started in Professor Hazel Holden's laboratory (University of Wisconsin -Madison) in 2009. Professor Holden was instrumental in crafting a program that gives middle school students the chance to work on graduate-level research in a state-of-the-art laboratory.

During the school year, selected students from eighth grade intern in the Holden lab under the supervision of graduate students Ari Salinger, Haley Brown, and Karl Wetterhorn.

One day a week, each of the middle school students spends approximately 1.5 hours in the laboratory learning about and carrying out each step of their research projects. The projects are ideally suited for teaching the excitement of chemistry and biochemistry. The material covered is taught through both interactive lectures and hands-on research. Students learn a variety of biochemistry techniques including DNA cloning, E. coli cell growth, protein expression, protein purification, X-ray crystallography techniques, and the use of three-dimensional structure-building programs. At the end of each program year, participants will have obtained valuable tools for furthering their science education.

Project CRYSTAL at UW-Madison is beginning its sixth year in 2014-2015, and we are excited about its future. In fact, this year Project CRYSTAL is being implemented at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis in the laboratory of Dr. Michael McLeish. It is our hope that other laboratories will continue to reach out to the next generation of future scientists so that more young students can experience the wonder of research.

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